We notched another win last night with the Pacers narrow cover in Utah. The game was pretty close throughout, and frankly was a pretty impressive effort by Utah who is clearly getting better now that they have a healthy Trey Burke to help orchestrate the offense, but in the end Indiana used their depth and talent to wear them down in the fourth quarter and stretch the lead just enough to cover the eight points.
We may have gotten a win but the biggest loser last night was the NBA and their dreams of playing games in other countries. Nothing says “fan-tastic” like an arena fire and excessive smoke cancelling the Spurs v. T’Wolves game in Mexico City. Thankfully everyone was perfectly fine and there were no injuries, but it had to be a bizarre and frightening experience for the players and coaches.
It’s a typically abbreviated Thursday night TNT schedule for the NBA, so there are only three games to choose from. The first game is going to be a tough watch for those of you brave (foolish?) enough to subject their eyes to Knicks v. Nets debacle. The second game is a little better, with the depleted Bullls host Miami to renew their love affair with Lebron and the Heat. Too bad the NBA can’t go NFL-style and flex the Spurs v. Timberwolves reboot to tonight’s television schedule…
Today’s Free Pick:
Miami Heat -5 at Chicago Bulls (Total: 189)
Had the Heat not already posted their monthly sleepwalking clunker two nights ago against the Pistons I’d like Chicago’s chances to catch them flat tonight. However, the surprising home loss, even without Dwyane Wade, should have jolted them just enough to get a max effort tonight in the Windy City. I expect Wade to play tonight, though he is officially listed as “day-to-day” and I expect Miami to put forth a “we don’t like you guys” type of effort.
Chicago got a lot of attention for their Game One win over Miami in the Conference Semis last year. Less attention was paid to the fact that they Heat summarily dismissed them following that loss. Just like they did the year before WITH Derrick Rose and a healthy roster. Miami is just a lot better than this team, especially now that Rose is sidelined for the season.
Chicago is a pleasant 5-1 at home, but Miami is the rare team that isn’t dramatically affected by going on the road. The Heat are 5-2 away from South Beach this season. This is the second matchup of these two teams this year. They also met on opening night, a 107-95 win for the Heat (again, before Rose went down injured).
I’m occasionally reluctant to back the Heat because of their stunning ability to randomly lay an egg or two in the regular season, but I think the Bulls and the acrimony of the rivalry will bring out their best effort tonight. Give me the Heat to cover on the road.